National Doll - Sami, circa 1970s-1980s Object Reg. No: SH 940235

Summary:
National doll produced to represent a Sami man, it was given to Monica Gates, circa 1970s-1980s. The Sami peoples (previously referred to as Lapps) are the indigenous inhabitants of Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They traditionally lived by fishing, hunting and from the 17th Century reindeer herding, with lifestyle depending on the area they inhabited, coastal, interior or mountains.

Sami clothing for both men and women consists of a belted coat, pants (for men), leggings (for women) and headdress. Moccasins or boots and mittens are generally made from reindeer skin. The material used for making the coat varied according season and usage, in winter a moudda (double coat of reindeer skin) was generally worn, while winter festival coats were often made from the more delicate reindeer calfskin. Summer coats were constructed from homespun cloth (gakti) or chamois (svaltja). Gakti may be coloured blue, black, white or occasionally green. They have bands of ornamentation in red, yellow, green or blue. The colour and ornamentation of gakti and the style of headdress worn signify regional, gender, age and usage differences. Men's caps are often peaked and vary by region for example in Finnmark and North-west Finland the savka (cap of the four winds) is worn, while in southern Sweden Sami men often wear a cap with a red tassel.

The four pointed cap and high level of embellishment on this doll's gakti suggest he is meant to represent a Northern Sami, most likely from the Finnmark region.

The Gates collection contains 170 national dolls from 74 different countries and some correspondence relating to the acquisition of several of the dolls. The costumes of the dolls represent national costumes from the 19th Century to the 1990s. Monica Gates collected or was given these dolls between 1957 and 1990.

These dolls were purchased as souvenirs of particular countries and like many mass produced souvenirs they are often not accurate representations of a particular country or region, and may actually better reflect neighbouring counties or regions. This occurs because costumes are often stylised and simplified resulting dolls wearing generic costume elements which are common to many countries/regions. Often the fabrics and decorations used are selected to make the dolls cheap and easy to manufacture and aesthetically pleasing. This can result in the fabrics, colours and decorations of the doll's clothing having little or no reflection of the costume associated with a particular country or region they are meant to be representative of.
Description:
Doll, plastic, with eyes that close when laying down. Doll is dressed in dark blue felt trousers and tunic top. These have a yellow and red trim at cuffs and yoke. The doll is wearing a dark blue felt hat with white furry trim around the face and yellow and red edging and tassels. The doll also has a yellow and red cord tie around its waist and white fluffy shoes.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 22.00 cm (Height), 5.00 cm (Width), 10.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: clothing, souvenirs, cultural beliefs, dolls, national costumes, children s play, national identity, indigenous peoples, indigenous cultures, cultural awareness, europe
Themes this item is part of: Childhood & Youth Collection, Clothing & Textiles Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Clothing
Tertiary Classification: national dolls
Inscriptions: "LAPLAND" (-written on attached paper tag)
Place Made: Norway, circa 1970s-1980s

As the doll is dressed to represent a Sami person it could also have been made in Sweden, Finland or north-west Russia which also have Sami populations
User: Mrs Monica Gates, Victoria, Australia, circa 1970s-1990s
Other Association (See Comments): Sapmi

Doll is intended to represent a Sami man from the Finnmark region
References: Tom G. Svensson (1992). 'Clothing in the Arctic: A Means of Protection, a Statement of Identity', Arctic, Vol 45, No 1 (March), pp. 62-73

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